BCIT Downtown is one of the world’s top ‘smart’ buildings, using state-of-the-art telecommunication and information technology to ensure quality, flexible spaces. Close to public transport in Vancouver’s business centre, the eight-storey (168,000 sq. ft.) building also provides retail space and four and a half levels of underground parking.
Green, smart features: conservation through design
A glass-sheathed suspended staircase connects the first six floors, and with its lobbies, encourages social interaction, provides orientation, reduces elevator loads, and lights the building at night.
High-tech walls of aluminum, high-performance glass, and glass shading fins let light penetrate the building to create bright interior spaces. In each room, wall “light shelves” can adjust the natural light, reducing electrical lighting loads and costs.
The building’s “envelope” balances solar heat gain and natural daylighting. The glazing is high- performance , low-E, and clear to maximize daylight in winter. Cooling requirements are reduced using photocell-dimmed lighting, which reduces the light level and heat gain according to the daylight available.
The space is heated, cooled, and ventilated by a variable-air-volume system with variable speed drives and 100% outdoor air free cooling. Individual zone-control, variable-air-volume boxes link to each room’s lighting occupancy sensors through the computerized building management system.
“Smart” building management
The building management system constantly monitors and adjusts all mechanical systems and much of the building lighting for maximum energy efficiency and occupant comfort.
Remote control points link to a central computer network through structured cabling for quick, efficient changes. A power metering system has digital meters at each main feeder breaker to monitor load (volts/amps), power factor and kilowatt per hour demand. All information is available via computer and the building management system. An AT&T intelligent voice/data system with fibre-optic backbones shares common cabling for security, building management, and television systems.